The Plan

Mariah Grey
Mariah GreyThursday, May 27, 2021
a person working on a laptop

My journey into software development has definitely not been a ‘point A to B’ path. It all started with the plan, which has evolved to bring me to where I am now, in the software development field. Travel this tumultuous road with me.

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

My career path began with a focus on getting my degree to teach. During high school, I had volunteered in a kindergarten classroom for several terms, helping grade papers, and setting up lesson plans, which I genuinely enjoyed. This was what kick-started the plan. The plan was to get my bachelor’s degree, then my master’s in education — to teach either kindergarten through second grade or high school English and History while working part-time as a PreK teacher to support myself through college. I acquired my Associate’s degree with a focus in Early Childhood Education and transferred from a community college to a state school to pursue my Bachelor of Science degree in Education. This is where the plan hit its first bump.

Restaurant with bar stools

Shortly after I began my second phase of college, I got married and found out we’d be moving. Not simply across the state, but to Japan. This put a major wrench in the plan since student teaching would be extremely challenging to complete overseas through my current college. Instead of transferring schools for a third time, I decided to take a break from college as I followed my husband across an ocean. Once we settled into life overseas, I started teaching English to Japanese kids and jumped back into teaching PreK through a daycare on the military base where we lived. I loved the structure and working with children. Three years of this flew by, and we had a little girl and prepared to move back to the States, where the plan was to continue working as a preschool teacher and get back on track pursuing my Education degree.

Moving boxes stack on top of each other in a room

Once we landed in Texas, the plan hit another snag. Childcare in the oil fields of Texas was astronomically expensive and my salary as a PreK teacher was barely enough to cover the price and make it worth spending 8 hours each day away from my kids, especially as we added another baby girl to our family. After a year and a half of searching for a job that was worth my time, I was feeling a bit of despair towards the plan. Finding something that would allow me to set flexible hours and work from home seemed completely out of reach. A family member suggested I check out Free Code Camp, and I was intrigued enough to dig in.

After working through the Front End development section of Free Code Camp, I began to feel like this could be the next phase of the plan. I took a leap of faith and signed up for a Bootcamp focused on Full Stack JavaScript. It was challenging and stretched me far outside my comfort zone, which forced me to admit that, once again, the plan wasn’t going the direction I had imagined. But also, that it was okay to veer off course from the plan. Once I accepted that fact and dove headfirst into dedicated growth in the software development field, I was able to find a remote position with a small software company based in Idaho. I was working closely with my boss and learning so much each day. The position focused heavily on Classic ASP and the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript basics. With that, I was able to learn steadily and grow as a remote developer.

A desk at home set up for remote work

As I settled into my job title of ‘Software Developer’, I started to fight through my imposter syndrome. I did this by reminding myself that I had earned my spot within the company with the level of knowledge that I already had! I then solidified this thought by getting into as many learning opportunities as I could whenever I had free time within my workday to grow the knowledge I already possessed. Both of those things calmed down my ‘what the heck am I even doing here’ thoughts. Once I had that under control, I began to look for opportunities to transition into a more React and React Native focused position. I was leaning farther into mobile-first engineering and saw significant room for growth, both personally and as part of the software development field overall. I applied for many spots, one of which was an apprenticeship with Echobind, and took a break from Development as COVID really took hold of the economy. In August I was accepted to and began my apprenticeship with Echobind, which led to a full-time job opening in November.

After starting as a Software Engineer here at Echobind, I gained exposure to many different channels of tech and have met many people who have taken the non-traditional path to where they are now. It’s such a supportive environment and I look forward to being part of the continued growth here. I guess the plan doesn’t always take us where we anticipate going, but it always brings us to where we’re supposed to be. Here’s to flexibility and growth as the plan changes!

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